Have you ever gone shopping for a gift but had no idea what to buy? If you’re like me, the mall is the last place you want to be, the process probably took WAY longer than it should have, and, even then, you may have left the shopping mall with something either meaningless or worse, overpriced.
You definitely don’t want that to happen when shopping for a new house. That’s why it’s important to look at houses that are likely to be a “good fit” for you.
Here are some tips for doing just that:
- Have a tight list of the “must-haves” for your next home. That way, you won’t waste time looking at properties that don’t fit your criteria.
- Consider whether any “must-haves” could be moved to your “nice-to-have” list. That will broaden the number of listings you can consider. Remember, you may be able to get those missing “must-haves” by renovating after you purchase.
- Know the price range you should be shopping within and your absolute ceiling. There’s no sense seeing homes that fall outside that range if you won’t be able to make an offer.
- Select those ideal neighbourhoods you’d love to live in. That will increase the likelihood of seeing homes you like because they’ll be in areas you desire.
Don’t Waste Time
I know it may be tempting to smell every flower along the path; meaning, when you first begin looking at houses to buy, you may be tempted to look at every single new listing that comes on the market that kind-of-sort-of meets your criteria.
It wastes your time and your agent’s time.
If you’re looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 washroom detached house, don’t drag your agent into a 2 bedroom plus a den, 1 washroom townhouse just because it “might” work.
Stick to your must-have list and only deviate from it if what you want is obviously not possible or it makes sense.
When to Compromise
What if you’re looking for a bungalow with 3 bedrooms, a washroom on the main floor, and a washroom in the basement but nothing is coming on the market.
One day, a bungalow that has 3 bedrooms but only a washroom on the main floor hits the market. Maybe a compromise from your must-have list makes sense here (if the price is right) and you install a second washroom in the basement yourself once you’ve bought the house.
Stick to Your Budget
You’ve done the right thing by getting yourself pre-qualified by a lender so you know what the max is you can offer and afford in a house.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment thinking you can negotiate a lower price on a house.
There are very few situations these days where you can negotiate lower than the asking price on houses.
Condos are a different story, but that’s another post for another day.
If you find that houses sell for just outside of your price range in certain areas, try expanding just outside of those areas and you may find a great house in another part of town.
Expand Your Areas
I understand that there may be times where you must be in a specific neighbourhood because of schools or other situations.
If you are looking for a specific neighbourhood but find it’s unaffordable, start looking into other areas that have what you’re looking for as well.
Sometimes, it may only be the idea of living in a certain area that appeals to you but another neighbourhood close by may have everything you need, be more affordable, and get you more house for your budget.
There are times when you want to be stubborn and stick to your list of priorities no matter what.
Sometimes though, it makes sense to be a little more open to opportunities around you.
Either way, knowing what you truly must have in a house is the best starting point, and go from there.